Posts Tagged ‘new’

Unique new verbena

February 1st, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Verbena 'Showboat Mango Orange'

We’ve occasionally been looking at that splendid old Victorian magazine The Floricultural Cabinet over the last few months. As we leave January, I see that for the January 1852 issue the good Mr Joseph Harrison, who “conducts” the magazine, has commissioned “Orion” to discuss verbenas. They love pseudonyms in these old magazines….

“Verbenas stand very high in the estimation of the flower-loving world,” he reports, “and deservedly so, for what rival have they for filling beds on lawns? What is there that will make a grander display, from early in the season to quite the close?

“So various are the shades of colour that a splendid parterre may be laid out consisting entirely and exclusively of the Verbena…. Yellow is the only decided colour wanting; though new ones described as yellow, have been, I think, dishonestly put out only to prove dirty white or pale Primroses. But no more need be brought forward to prove the superiority of this many-coloured flower over every other, for bedding and other out-door purposes…”

And while yellow verbenas still prove elusive over a hundred and fifty years later, last year’s super-scented ‘Scentsation’ (from seed) brought as fragrance as never before combined with soft pastel colours and this year we have a new colour, never seen before: ‘Showboat Mango Orange’.

Voted second favourite by 3,500 professional and amateur visitors to the country’s largest annual flower trials (we’ll get to the favourite next time), this striking new colour features large umbels of brilliant mango-orange flowers with blushes of pink and brings a new colour choice to verbenas.

Valuable in baskets and tubs, and also as a front-of-the-sunny-border ground cover, why not give Verbena ‘Showboat Mango Orange’ a try and order some plants?

Gentler geums

April 13th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Geum 'Totally Tangerine'

There are two geums that we seem to have been growing for ever: ‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’ (bright scarlet) and ‘Lady Stratheden’ (bright yellow). They’re prolific, tough as old boots and flower for months in most soils. But don’t you sometimes wish that there were varieties that were just as long flowering and prolific but that were, well, less bright?

Plant breeders around the world have got the message and have been crossing different species together to create varieties that are prolific, adaptable, long flowering and colourful – but in slightly softer shades.

From Holland comes ‘Flames of Passion’, developed by the renowned plantsman and garden designer Piet Oudolf, is red, but a richer and softer shade than ‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’. ‘Mai Tai’, created by Illinois nurseryman Brent Horvath, is apricot with richer pink tints while, from British nurseryman Tim Crowther, ‘Totally Tangerine’ (above) is peachy pink with a rich dusting of gold that adds subtlety to its brightness.

All are sun lovers, all are tolerant of a wide variety of soils but are best in fertile conditions with good drainage, especially in winter. If you’re looking for a geum for wetter conditions, try the demure British native Geum rivale.

Regular dead-heading helps prolong their season and keeps the plants looking fresh and if you’d like to cut some for the house, they’ll last well. I recommend them.

Roses from France

December 15th, 2017 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Rose 'Claude Monet' by Fabrice Moireau

Mr Fothergill’s is a seed company, right? Of course. But that’s not all. Young plants, perennials and also roses feature in the listings and the roses are rather special.

All the roses were developed in France by the historic Delbard rose specialists, who over the decades have introduced some of our loveliest varieties, including the seven chosen for the Mr F range.

These are supplied in the traditional way, “bare root” – that is, dug from their rows in the nursery and sent out without soil on the roots. Newcomers to rose growing can find this rather alarming but, as I discovered earlier this year, it’s a system that works very well.

My bare root roses arrived in February, while I was away. My neighbour simply left the package in a cool place outside until I returned in March – but their new planting site was not ready. I unpacked them and heeled them in: I dug a trench, set out the plants in a row and simply covered the roots with soil.

It must have been early April before they were properly planted, but they did well and produced some lovely blooms in their first summer. Even if the roots dry out they can be revived by a couple of hours in a bucket of water.

I find the small Floribundas, ‘Amelie Nothomb’ and ‘Dolce Vita’, especially appealing and, reaching only about 60cm in height, they’re ideal for small spaces or containers. The climbers, ‘Amnesty International’ and ‘Claude Monet’, are unusually disease resistant which is especially valuable when they’re grown on a wall..

The Delbard nursery, in central France, was founded by Georg Delbard and is now run buy his grandson Arnaud Delbard. They also develop disease resistant apples and pears.

* The watercolour of ‘Claude Monet’ climbing rose is by Fabrice Moireau and is taken from the 1994 book A Passion For Roses by Henri Delbard.